Families Eating Dinner Together: Tips to Make it Fun and Stress Free!

Have you tried to sit down to a family dinner, only to have it be a horrible experience?  Cooking chaos, kids crying, picky eaters and a huge mess does not have to be the norm at dinner time.  I wanted to share a few tips for a successful family dinner because it is a family activity that I am incredibly passionate about.  There have been numerous studies that have shown the benefits of families eating dinner together and getting kids started young will make things easier!This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through … [Read more...]

Environmental Projects for Kids that They Will Actually Enjoy Doing!

When my children were young, summer vacations were filled with educational opportunities.  We took field trips to the zoo, got educational books out of the library, and found other ways to prevent summer brain drain. I researched environmental projects for kids that would get them excited about learning.  Quite a bit of time was spent supplementing my children's education.  I chose lessons that focused on topics that I felt were important.  Art, music, the environment, and science are losing focus in our elementary schools and those are all … [Read more...]

Green and Healthy Picnic Ideas for Summer

Summer is here and if you are looking for some healthy picnic ideas, you have come to the right place! My teens have two more weeks of school and I am torn between excitement and dread for the coming months.  I love those kids like you would not believe but two teenagers at home all day every day is enough to stress out any mom!I find that the key to maintaining my sanity over the summer is two-fold.  Keep them well fed and get out of the house occasionally.  Both of those things can be accomplished by taking a picnic basket to the park.  … [Read more...]

Family Activism and Helping Teens Make a Difference

Family activism is tough when you have kids. If you have teens, you probably realize by now that they enjoy spending their free time sleeping, eating, shopping and hanging with friends. While those are all fun pursuits for teens, they aren't what I consider great life goals.  Sleeping til noon and eating an entire bag of chips in one sitting aren't activities that are going to change the world anytime soon.I am trying to raise my teens with an awareness for social issues. While we are definitely on the 'far left' in terms of our beliefs, I … [Read more...]

What to Put in Military Care Packages

Do you have a service member in your family that needs some love this holiday season?  Are you wondering what to put in military care packages? When I was little, my father was in the Naval Reserves.  I have fond memories of him in his shiny black shoes and spiffy white hat.  I was too young to understand much about war or what military men and women were dedicating themselves to.  As an adult, I have a better understanding of the sacrifices of these brave men and woman.  They dedicate so much of their lives to protecting and serving our nation … [Read more...]

Green Holiday Tips for a Smaller Carbon Footprint

Looking to tread more lightly on the planet this holiday season?  Start searching now for green holiday tips because you know what? There is less than one month until Thanksgiving! Before you know it chaos will reign as I try to deal with shopping, baking, kids birthdays (both in November and December!) and entertaining friends and family.  Every year I tell myself that I will be more organized by this time of year but somehow that never seems to work out.  There are a lot of things you can do to ensure a slightly more green holiday season this … [Read more...]

10 Eco Friendly Date Ideas to Help Your Love Life Go Green!

Many, many years ago, I met a wonderful man who wooed me with flowers, cute little love notes, walks through town holding my hand, and other romantic yet simple gestures.  We weren't necessarily thinking about eco friendly date ideas.  We were just poor! We laughed, snuggled, and skipped a few classes while we relished our budding relationship.  Fast forward 25 years, 2 kids, a few jobs and a whole lot of stress and my husband and I have lost a bit of the romance we used to have in our relationship.   Weeks are long, the kids are annoying, the … [Read more...]

How to hike with kids and actually enjoy it!

Summer is drawing to a close and Fall will be sneaking in soon.  Once the days start to cool off, my husband and I enjoy finding time to head out into the woods for some quality hiking trips.  We had to learn years ago how to hike with kids since we have no family around to play babysitter for us.  And truthfully I WANT my kids out in nature with us.  Yes, hiking with kids isn't always as much fun as hiking with just adults.  They tend to be slower, louder, and more prone to tripping or getting hurt.  However, I am a firm believer in the idea … [Read more...]

What is the True Meaning of Friendship in a World that Moves Too Fast?

This post about what is the true meaning of friendship has been sponsored by Ricola swiss herbs throat drops and Social Stars but all opinions are my own. #RicolaCrowd #FriendshipDayWhen we are young, it's easy to make friends.  You spend hours hanging out with them at school, go to their birthday parties, and ride your bike aimlessly through the neighborhood with them.  As you get older, there are sleepovers, long phone conversations and extracurricular activities that you both enjoy together.  Friendships are easier to make because as a … [Read more...]

Advice for My Teenage Daughter as She Begins High School

This post about advice for my teenage daughter has been sponsored by Ricola swiss herbs throat drops and Social Stars but all opinions are my own. #RicolaCrowdLast week, I attended my daughter's 8th-grade award ceremony.  It's hard to believe that my baby girl will be entering into high school in just 10 more weeks.  What happened to my little side kick with those pudgy legs and cute blond curls?  Where is the courageous little kindergartner who got on that school bus without a single backward glance for her crying mother?  I miss that … [Read more...]

Green Road Trip Ideas for Frugal Family Fun!

I learned many years ago that a green road trip can be both frugal and a ton of fun. We travel by car fairly often...the grandparents all live far away and they like to see their grand kids occasionally.  I look forward to these drives about as much as I look forward to my yearly OB exam.  Days of being cooped up with the kids and nowhere to hide!  To top it all off we usually end up eating fast food, getting leg cramps and headaches, and arrive at our destination with a less than stellar attitude about the whole trip.  I know we should be … [Read more...]

5 Things Your Daughter Should Know About Her Period

I am sharing these things your daughter should know as part of a Playtex® Sport®  sponsored campaign for Socialstars #PlaytexSportSquad.As a child, my daughter was obsessed with babies.  She wanted to know how she could get one for herself.  Why does that 16 year old girl at church have one and she can't?  If she asks Santa, will he leave her one under the Christmas tree?  She was intent on figuring out how we could get a new baby.  *I* can honestly say that there was no way in heck I wanted one of those little buggers in my life again!  … [Read more...]

Keeping Teens Active for Better Health

I’m sharing these tips for keeping teens active thanks to Playtex® Sport® as part of a sponsored post for Socialstars #PlaytexSportSquad. All opinions are my own.I remember back many years ago when my children were young.  There were days I was exhausted just from chasing them up and down stairs all day.  Weeks went by where all I did was watch them run in and out of the back door. I seriously considered putting in a revolving door so I could stop yelling at them about slamming the darn thing over and over again.  They were incredibly … [Read more...]

Setting Financial Goals to ensure Retirement Security #RetireHappyNow

My husband and I have always been goal oriented people.  Within a year of dating, we knew we wanted to get married and started planning the 'where, when and how' of making it happen.  We both wanted to have our children while we were still young so we set a goal of 2 children before I turned 30.  We bought our first house with the understanding that it was a 5 year ownership before we upsized to something in a better school district.  And we have a very firm retirement security plan because our goal is to retire by the time my husband is 58 (in … [Read more...]

How to Provide Natural Immune Support for Your Family

This post about Natural Immune Support is part of  an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Zarbee’s Naturals. I received a product and a promotional item to thank me for participating.The moment my kids go back to school in September we start having to worry about what sort of germs they will be bringing home with them.  Even as teenagers they frequently catch colds and other nasty things from their peers.  Those school buses are a cesspool of infestation! Germs are everywhere and I don't really worry about sterilizing … [Read more...]

8 Things We Need to Teach our Kids about Food

This post about things we need to teach our kids has been sponsored but all opinions expressed here are my own.Last week I took my children to the grocery store to shop for a church service project. The goal was to provide a Thanksgiving Day feast in a box for our local food pantry. We were provided a list of items that we were to buy so there was really no creativity or substitution allowed. As expected, the list of foods contained things like 'instant potatoes' and 'canned gravy'.  My daughter asked why we were buying all these processed … [Read more...]

Tune in to Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar Sabotage Tournament

This post about Cutthroat Kitchen has been sponsored but all opinions expressed are my own.My husband and I love to watch the Food Network together and there are always great cooking shows on for us to watch.  We enjoy seeing hosts travel to far off lands to eat exotic foods, cook mainstream favorites in their own kitchen, and compete against each other in a brutal cooking competition.  One of our favorite TV food personalities has always been Alton Brown. We even have a few cookbooks of his and they have some great recipes in them!  Last … [Read more...]

Your Back to School List Should Include Identity Theft Protection #LifeLockUltimatePlus

This back to school discussion has been sponsored by LifeLock but all opinions expressed here are my own.Every year before my kids go back to school I have to register them with the county at the school they will be attending.  I have no idea WHY I have to reregister them every single year but I do and it is a huge pain in the neck.  I go online to the school's website and have to fill out a ridiculously long online form with all the required data.  This year as I was filling out the back to school form I came across a question I don't … [Read more...]

Genealogy Tips: How to Start Researching Your Family Tree #surnameproject

These genealogy tips are brought to you by Ancestry.com but all opinions expressed here are my own.When I was young my father discovered the joys of genealogy.  What did that mean for me?  It meant that we went to every family reunion armed with paper and pencil to interview everyone that was willing to talk to him.  It mean that we spent a LOT of time wandering around old grave sites and doing rubbings and taking photos.  It meant that the basement started to gather a huge collection of old books and an impressive photography setup.  Dad … [Read more...]